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Tutorial of the Month - DIY Felted Poppy Picture

Nikki Wheatley was selected as our Featured Artist back in September 2018. This month she's back to share her tutorial for a Felted Poppy Picture with us.

In this tutorial, she’ll be showing you how to create your very own poppy picture that feels like a light and delicate sketch but is made from wool and silk fibres.

Over to you Nikki….

What you’ll need:

  • Cream Wool Batt
  • Various shades of green Merino wool, a brighter yellow shade, this could be blue if you wanted to introduce some sky.
  • Angelina fibres
  • Black silk fibres( I think this is what they are. I got them from a botany waste bag and they are fab)
  • White Tencel silk
  • Scarlet, mulberry and tangerine Merino wool
  • Olive soap
  • Bubble wrap
  • Netting
  • Mohair Knitting yarn
  • Silk threads
  • Wensleydale locks
  • Tweezers

Step 1:

Tear off the appropriate size and shape of the wool batt. I like the natural edges rather than cutting. I also split it into two so in effect, you are creating two pages as this picture has a light and delicate feel.

Tease off three different shades of green and blend them together. If you’re making a large piece I would use hand carders but for this size, it is fine to do by hand.

Lay down the green fibres on the batting trying to place the wispy ends towards the top so they blend into the background. I try to place thicker darker pieces towards the bottom to help give a feeling of depth. Then add the yellow between some of the gaps and towards the top. (Image 1

Step 2:

Pull off thin wisps off all of the greens. Whilst dry, twiddle them at each end, there will be hints of blades of grass. Cut in all different lengths the mohair knitting yarn and the Wensleydale locks. Twist some green silk fibres in the same way.

Snip tiny pieces of the Angelina onto the background, this gives a nice glitter and looks pretty when the light catches it. As everything is still dry this can be moved around, gently blown to ensure there are no big clumps of it.

Randomly place the twisted “leaves” you have prepared. (Image 2)

Step 3:

Make a stem for the Poppy. Twist together two different greens, using slightly more fibres than with the leaves. Dry felt in your hands for a short while.

Then dip in water and continue rolling until it feels like the stem is starting to felt. This then won’t spread too much when water is added. Lay this on the leaves etc where you would like it to be placed. (Image 3 

Step 4:

Tear off small pieces of the scarlet fibres. Gently turn the edges over with your fingertips to create a petal shape. I only use a small amount of fibres. I can see through them as petals should be delicate, and my petals tend to look like loose hearts.

Place these on top of the stem. I place two to the sides and then tuck two behind these to the back.

Add wisps of the orange and darker red. Place them to try and give depth to the petals. I always take photos of my work through the stages as these show more clearly more than my eyes what needs tweaking. (Image 4 & 5)

When happy with how the petals look, place over the netting and wet. Push the water into the wool by gently placing your hands on top of the netting and rock them. Soap can then be added, scraping over the net gently. 

I try to scrape it in the direction of the leaves and petals. I wet at this stage as next the black silk middle is added and you can use the dampness to your advantage. (Image 6

Step 5:

Tear off small pieces of black silk. Only a few fibres at a time. Place these in the middle of the poppy.

With tweezers or your finger gently brush outwards. This helps to separate and pull out the silk in a finer way. Makes the Poppy look lighter and more natural.

Place black fibres wherever you feel they are needed. Remember this is your interpretation of a poppy. (Image 7

Step 6:

Add the highlights and silk threads. Use the white Tencel in very fine pieces to where you feel the highlights should be.

Finally cut the silk threads into various lengths and outline the petals. I overlap some of the threads and have some look like they are not actually attached to the petal. I like this because it reminds me of pencil strokes and makes the Poppy look more delicate.  (Image 8

Step 7:

Lightly felt. With this being a picture it does not need as much felting as something that needs to be robust and usable. 

I do not use a bamboo mat and with a small picture like this, I do not roll.

Gently rub over the surface of the netting and then remove it. Push back into place any fibres that may have shifted. Place bubble wrap over the top - bubbles down. Very gently with no pressure initially, start to rub. I only rub 20-30 times in each of the four directions. I then turn the piece over and rub from the back. I find that this felts quite nicely without disturbing the image that you have spent time creating.

Rub 50-60 times four ways on this side. Turn back over. The silk threads should have crinkled up quite nicely where the wool has lightly felted and grabbed onto them. Check for any movement, loose threads. Replace bubble wrap and keep rubbing until you are happy everything is attached. (Image 9)

Then deep breath - Roll the picture onto itself. Squeeze out the soap and water. Whilst holding in your hand rinse under the

Uncurl and pull back into shape. Leave to dry and you’re done! (Image 10)

Let us know if you have created a poppy picture using this tutorial and show us your pictures on 
Facebook and Twitter, we’d love to see them!

We are on the hunt for new and interesting tutorials to feature on our website and in our forthcoming newsletters, so If you have a tutorial that you would like us to highlight, please contact andy@worldofwool.co.uk


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